July 8, 2009

Police forces at odds over wardrobe

A Canadian police force in Ontario has turned a cold shoulder on fellow officers in a job dispute across the river in Quebec over their choice of clothing.

For more than two years, police officers, in Gatineau, Quebec, have been locked in a labor dispute. Unable to strike, they took to refusing to wear their traditional uniforms and substituted cargo pants and baseball caps for standard issue, the Ottawa Sun reported.

That doesn't sit well across the Ottawa River in the nation's capital, where Ottawa Police Chief Vern White traditionally deputized Gatineau officers to work in his jurisdiction.

Tuesday, White said he wouldn't deputize any more Gatineau officers wearing the protest pants and hats.

My worry is people won't realize it's a police officer -- they'll think it's a gang member, White said. You'll have a guy standing there with street pants and a street hat and a dark jacket with a gun in his hand and you won't know he's a police officer.

His decision doesn't affect Gatineau officers pursuing a suspect into Ottawa or plainclothes officers, the Sun said.